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First look: Panasonic Transparent OLED TV

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Originally displayed at the Salone del Mobile furniture and lifestyle exhibition in Milan back in the spring, the intriguing prototype now looks even more impressive with much improved black levels.

The groundbreaking set has been developed in partnership with Swiss furniture brand Vitra and is a joint collaboration between Scandinavian based designer Daniel Rybakken and Panasonic Design Kyoto

Once switched on the set magically displays content much like a regular OLED TV, with the aforementioned objects behind the display completely obscured.

On first look the set appears to be a clear glass cabinet with a stylish, inch-thick wooden frame. With pictures and ornaments positioned behind the display during the demo, only a mild filtered surface belies the fact that the objects were in fact behind a TV display.

Once switched on the set magically displays content much like a regular OLED TV, with the aforementioned objects behind the display completely obscured.

Somehow all the prototype’s components have been cleverly and concealed within the wooden frame which doubles up as a stand. Also housed within the frame is a lightning element, which helps to further enhance the viewing experience.

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(Image credit: Kevin Lynch)

Vitrine Panasonic Rybakken Transparent OLED TV

Now you see it...

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(Image credit: Kevin Lynch)

Vitrine Panasonic Rybakken Transparent OLED TV

...now you don't

Through the looking glass

Transparent displays are by no means a new concept - Samsung demonstrated both mirror and transparent OLED displays as far back as 2015, only to cease production a year later, while LG have also produced see-through OLED screens that were also flexible. 

While the picture was a long way short of delivering the true black levels we’d normally associate with a regular OLED set, the Panasonic prototype nevertheless impressed.

Both of those examples were dogged by poor contrast and black levels however, this is something that the Panasonic concept appears to have addressed to a great degree on the evidence of today’s demo. While the picture was a long way short of delivering the true black levels we’d normally associate with a regular OLED set, the Panasonic prototype nevertheless  impressed, thanks to an improved black dimming filter which helps to create greater contrast.

While no pricing or firm release dates were announced, Panasonic did confirm the OLED will developed further, with a production-ready model set to be ready in time for CES 2020 in January.

The Japanese company also unveiled the MegaCon, a display using a dual LCD layers to deliver black performance which rivals that of an OLED TV whilst also being capable of high brightness too.